Thursday, April 13, 2006
Lotte To Bring U.S. Doughnut Chain Krispy Kreme To Japan
TOKYO (Nikkei)—Lotte Co. plans to start opening Krispy Kreme doughnut chain stores in Japan this coming winter with turnaround specialist Revamp Corp., The Nihon Keizai Shimbun learned Wednesday.
As a first step, Lotte and Revamp aim to set up a joint venture around late May and to open through it one or two stores in Tokyo this year. This venture is expected to increase the number of stores to 30-50 in five years by opening locations at major train terminal buildings and shopping malls around the nation. It may also set up Krispy Kreme stores inside Lotteria hamburger chain restaurants, as well as open new Krispy Kreme-Lotteria joint stores at malls.
Lotte Group already runs Krispy Kreme franchise stores in South Korea. In Japan, it has decided to team up with Revamp to tap that firm’s extensive knowledge of the Japanese consumer market.
In Japan, prices will likely be set around 100 yen—about the same as or slightly less than doughnuts at Duskin Co.’s Mister Donut chain, which dominates the Japanese market with some 1,300 stores and annual sales of 125 billion yen.
I hope they decide on a location for the first stores soon so I can start apartment-hunting in the area.
This is a bold move against the good-but-could-be-much-better Mister Donut. Krispy Kreme doughnuts are great but simply do not have enough of an international presence. Once, on a trip to Japan I spotted a Filipino kid taking boxes and boxes of the things home for his family. Also, I make it a point to take every Japanese friend of mine who visits to eat at “KK” (as Mrs. Adamu calls it). Every single one of the people who tried it loved the hot fresh doughnuts. It actually ended up being the highlight of the trip for one of Mrs. Adamu’s friends (“I’ll never forget those melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts,” she said).
Indeed, Krispy Kreme’s already got a bit of a word-of-mouth reputation among Japanese expats and tourists, so perhaps that will help KK establish itself in Japan. Apparently, Japanese residing in New York have already invented a cute abbreviation for it: “Kuri Kuri” (from the Japanese Kurisupii Kuriimu).